I’m happy to say that March is over. Our March food diet ended up being tougher than I thought. When I challenged myself to spend less on food, I foolishly overlooked a few March happenings.
Mainly, there was a motorcycle trade show in the middle of the month. Trade shows create a huge food expense because you work very long hours and need snacks and drinks to keep yourself going. Also, you don’t have access to a fridge or microwave and so usually we buy at least one meal at the show which costs a lot. Apart from the obvious food costs that a show brings, we have a few new challenges. With my husband working so many hours for the week surrounding the show I had no help with the baby and this cut into time that I would normally use to prepare meals and shop for groceries. This ended up having a huge effect and I feel like I’ve been playing catchup ever since.
Because of this (and a few other reasons), the wheels fell off of my March food diet during the third week of March. I went to McDonald’s a couple times and went to Timmies a few more times than I should have. We definitely did a bit better than we normally would but ideally I was hoping not to eat out at all and I definitely fell short of that.
I am excited to continue to work on meal planning though and we are still trying to cut our food costs. I did realize that I might not be allotting enough money to the food/ fuel section of our budget. Even with our reduced food costs for this month we are not quite out of the red in that area of the budget yet and that was the main reason behind our food cutbacks for the month. I was hoping that I could make up for the rising gas costs by spending less on food but I just don’t think that’s going to happen. I will need to find another area of the budget to cut back in to bump this area up a bit.
On that note, here’s how we did on our overall budget in the month of March:
I’m very happy to see the larger savings percentage here than in February!! Keep in mind though that the housing section of our budget covers only the interest that we are charged on our mortgage and most of what you see in ‘savings’ goes straight to the mortgage. This is where the Manulife One account can confuse things a bit.
I am looking forward to seeing our phone and internet spending go down over the next couple of months. As I talked about last week, we’ve just switched Internet providers and cut our monthly bill in half. We are also working on cutting the phone bill and I’m hoping to have more to say about that within the next month as well.
Our insurance spending will hopefully be going down a bit as well, though not as drastically. We are hoping to switch to a less expensive home insurance policy soon but the amount that we will save is nearly the same amount that we will be paying for my husband’s new life insurance policy so they will even each other out.
Our utility spending was a bit higher than usual this month because our water bill was due. We only have to pay a water bill every three months so we just save up a bit of money each month towards that and pay it on the third month.
I can’t believe how much money we didn’t spend this month- and not just in food costs. My credit card statement is half as long as usual and we even had some extra expenses like renewing our license plates for the year! I feel really great about this and just hope we can do this more often. Keeping our spending this low is not sustainable for each month as we will eventually have to buy clothing and other such supplies but it is really encouraging that we are able to do it sometimes!
Last but not least, the winner of The Wealthy Barber Returns is Erica DeSimone! Thanks for entering everyone!